Tuesday 27 June 2017

'No surrender' is a redundant cry in the new and complex North

No surrender! It sounded like slaughter in the henhouse, but the words were unmistakable, and the milling crowd, police sirens and breaking glass were in their familiar context. Hundreds of thousands of people have laughed at YouTube takes on the smashing of the pane of glass in the door into Belfast City Hall and the fierce wee face poking through it to shriek.

But when Santa, due to visit the Christmas market and deliver gifts to children with heart disease, had to turn his reindeer back to the North Pole, it was a measure of just how miserable these events in the wintry reality of Belfast 2012 actually were.

The weekend before, in one of the highlights of the loyalist cultural year, the Apprentice Boys burned a huge effigy of Lundy the Traitor in Derry. They were commemorating the 1689 siege when loyal apprentices shut the city gates against Catholic King James. Robert Lundy's treachery was, as the city governor, to recommend compromise. He had to flee. He goes up in flames to roars of "No surrender!"

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